Spending remains strong despite crisis

The Government has been advised allowing bed taxes by the Productivity Commission. Photo: Getty...
Queenstown. Photo: ODT files.
Consumer spending continues to show a stubborn resilience in the Queenstown Lakes district, despite the number of people claiming benefits continuing to rise.

A Queenstown Lakes District Council ‘‘recovery update’’, attached to a report prepared for this Thursday’s audit, finance and risk committee meeting, said spending in the week ending September 20 was only about 10% down on spending for the same week last year.

Paymark data showed consumer spending in the district had bounced back after plummeting in late March and April in reaction to the Covid-19 response.

Most spending categories were ‘‘very close’’ to last year’s levels, except for the category including most tourism activities, the report said.

Declining rents in the district were one likely contributor to that resilience; they were down from just over $650 a week before the lockdown to about $500 a week in late August.

The number of district residents getting the jobseeker benefit soared from just 29 in February to 525 in May, then declined in June and July.

However, if the number of jobseeker benefit claimants was combined with those claiming the Covid-19 income relief payment, which was introduced in June and ended last month, the number of people receiving job-related benefits rose steadily to about 1000 in August.

Also losing their jobs — and their ability to remain in New Zealand — were people on employer-assisted visas; nearly 500 such visas ended between early May and late last month.

For foreign nationals who remained in the district and were suffering hardship, support was being provided through a temporary assistance programme run by the Department of Internal Affairs and the Red Cross.

The programme, originally due to expire on September 30, had been extended to November 30.



Any word from that 'doom and gloom' economist bloke from a few months ago who was predicting 'years until recovery'?

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